Portland rap artist Mic Capes is having the best year of his young career and you might not even know it. Representing Portland’s North side, St. John’s to be exact, Mic Capes delivers honest lyrics, captivating storytelling, and a refreshing honest image thats all but lost in the music industry of 2016. Following his recent and elusive Best New Band placement, by Oregon newspaper Willamette Week, Capes strikes while the iron is hot with his latest visuals for ‘No More’.
Filmed and Directed by Totem Ent, Mic takes you through his North Portland neighborhood and paints the picture of a young man determined to make it against all odds. Hoping one day his rhymes and work ethic will be able to provide comfort for his own family and neighborhood, Mic Capes might just be on his way. Watch the powerful video for No More and be on the look out for the full length Concrete Dreams album coming soon via miccapes.com.
It seems like every time Mic Capes turns on the television these days, he sees a reflection of himself. He saw it in Beyoncé’s nod to the Black Panthers at the Super Bowl, and in Kendrick Lamar’s uncensored display of pain and anger at last month’s Grammy’s. It’s fuel, the St. Johns native says, to see like-minded artists on the world’s biggest stages.
“With their celebrity, they could just choose to sit back and collect money,” says the 26-year-old rapper born Michael Caples, “but they put a message out there, and they’re willing to make some people uncomfortable to do so”.
Capes is well aware of how America responds to raw displays of black pride. But the willingness to push through all the noise and express one’s personal truth is basically his mission statement. On songs like the fiery ‘Razor Tongue‘, Capes engages closely with the country’s legacy of racial inequality, pointedly bouncing from references to broken homes and race wars, from Ronald Reagan to Marcus Garvey. He acknowledges that, if things had gone just a little differently for him, he easily
“coulda been slangin’, bangin’, a killer, even a pimp.”
If listeners take offense to any of it, his answer is curt:
“I don’t really care if someone feels uncomfortable with me speaking on something I feel is wrong”.
Capes’ aim to empower his community on wax is an outgrowth of the real-life work he does with Step Up, an organization supporting ninth-graders through their transition to high school and beyond. His forthcoming album, Concrete Dreams, is essentially directed toward those students, because he knows what they’ve been through.
“It’s dedicated to inner-city youth,” he says. “People that come from poverty, messy violence and a rougher life.” He hopes it will also reach the nearsighted masses living across the bridge from where he grew up, and “open their mind to a new perspective”.
That’s no simple feat. But Capes embraces the challenge.